June 30, 2010
[books] Create Stunning HTML Email1
I have just finished a book which should have been published 4 years ago. In my short career in HTML I've written some nasty code, but none of it can challenge some of my earliest HTML emails. With the era of the table-based design long before my time, it sure was an adventure.
By now tons of information about HTML emails can be found on the Campaign Monitor blog, still I couldn't resist buying this little book called 'Create Stunning HTML Email That Just Works' by Matthew Patterson.
In a mere 136 pages, the book tries to combine all possible information to become a master in this somewhat dark art.
- Chapter 1: Why Email
- Chapter 2: Planning an Email Campaign
- Chapter 3: Design for the inbox
- Chapter 4: Coding your Emails
- Chapter 5: Understanding Permission
- Chapter 6: Selling Email to Your Clients
I had expected this book to be only about development and coding. Well, it's not.
As the content listing suggests, the book covers the whole process: from convincing you of the why to planning, how you should design them for optimal reach and how to sell your services to clients.
Of course, in such a few pages not everything can be explained in-depth and a lot of information may be new or unnecessary from a pure developer point of view. Some only touch the surface of the matter, like the one about permission and may leave you with even more questions.
The book comes with a set of files (available on the website) and makes good use of illustrative examples and screenshots. The author succeeds at teaching us that creating HTML-emails is not the same as building websites and that our only certainty is to test, test and test again.
I'd have loved to see much more email-client specific quirks though, and perhaps some more links to great articles on the Campaign Monitor blog or elsewhere about tricks we definitely should know.
All in all, for about 25 euros delivery included I'd say it's money well spent. The book has got some nice reference tables which you'll probably still use in the future as well.
Don't forget to test.